On seeing this topic for today’s Story Telling Group the first thing that popped into my head was how often I hear the word “sorted” spoken on the several English and occasionally Australian shows, often murder mysteries, I watch on Netflix. I was left to wonder if the phrase “sorting it out” is just not the American version.
Checking the Urban Dictionary the number one definition for “sorted” was using it in reference to completing a task or an idea. For example I have got it “sorted” mate or will you “sort” that for me mate. I must say I much prefer hearing “sort or sorted” in an English accent than I do the mundane mid-western American version: “ I’ll sort that out for you”.
There are also many other, some much more colorful, definitions of “sorted” that are apparently part of British slang. For example it can mean to be under the influence of Ecstasy or that one’s class A recreational drugs have arrived or perhaps my favorite usage getting fucked up but not to the point of blacking out. I am sorted!
I will now make a sharp left turn and return to the specific phrase “sorting it out” and how this may have relevance in my current life. Though I am relatively comfortable with my lack of belief in a god or gods, which I guess, makes me an atheist, I do at times get a bit squishy with this world-view and fall back on maybe being an agnostic. The word agnostic conjures up a phrase used by the Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn “Only Don’t Know”. His use was, I am sure, more sophisticated than my superficial view around whether or not there is a god, but I can honestly say when pondering the Universe and how the hell we all got here I really “only don’t know”.
To be very honest though I am still sorting this “god-thing” out. Oh, I have absolutely no problem throwing out the overwhelming mythical teachings of all the world’s great monotheistic religions, Hinduism and even much from certain Buddhist schools. In hindsight it was harder to give up a belief in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny than it was to jettison many of the tenets of the Catholic Religion I was indoctrinated in.
Those original questions Harry Hay used in helping to challenge and flesh-out our queer identity, that of our being a real cultural minority he believed, seem pertinent for me today in “sorting it out”: Who are we, where did we come from, and what are we for.
Questions it seems that can easily be expanded beyond just coming to grips with and adding meaning and substance to being gay.
Which brings me to why I am reading two books currently. Both are by men who have been intellectual, and dare I say Spiritual, influences on me over the years. These are authors I have read seeking answers on this whole supreme-being thing or a more sophisticated question perhaps being: Is evolution, not only of life on earth but of the ever expanding Universe as a whole, really spirit in action and what the hell are the implications of that, for me of course.
The first book is by Stephen Batchelor and is titled Secular Buddhism – Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World (Stephan is also the author of Buddhism Without Beliefs and Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist among others) and the second is The Religion of Tomorrow by Ken Wilber. Wilber’s book clocks in at 806 pages with relatively small print and no pictures. So if this tome provides guidance for me in “sorting it out” don’t expect an update for probably at least six months and most likely much longer.
Actually I am most likely reading both of these books because I am just a lazy fuck looking for a short cut – an answer to the question of what is our true nature and that of the whole amazing Universe. Both Wilber and Batchelor have decades of very disciplined meditative practice informing and guiding their views. I on the other hand have spent more cushion time than the average bear but in comparison to these two guys my effort is like a single grain of sand on the beach. All of this reading of course may well be folly if I am not willing to do the work. I wonder sometimes what is ‘faith’ really but a con foisted on folks i.e. no need to do the work just accept out word for it and it will all be fine.
“Stay tuned to this space.” Rachel Maddow